Trade Targets: Veteran Missing Pieces
Every year when the trade deadline comes teams trying to put together a playoff run look across the market for veteran leaders, players who can fill a specific need. These players tend have short contracts, ideal just in case they aren’t a good match, and they tend to be players who have had success as starters in the past. Want some examples?
Check out the list below – each one of these players could make a definite impact on a team in need of a specific skill set. (Obligatory notation of “if there is a season…”)
Antawn Jamison, Cleveland Cavaliers – 1 year, $15.2 million
Need some scoring in the frontcourt, perhaps couple with a little bit of rebounding? Jamison is your man, boasting career averages of 19.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. While he has started most of his career, Jamison also won the 2003-04 Sixth Man of the Year award with the Dallas Mavericks. Coaches and players respect his leadership and work ethic, and he’d love a chance at a ring – he’s only hit the second round of the NBA Playoffs twice in 13 seasons. The purchase price is a little steep and the Cavs will want young players and draft picks in return.
Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets – 1 year, $7.8 million
For a team rebuilding with youth, who already has a point guard they like in Ty Lawson, Miller is a luxury the Nuggets don’t need. Plenty of teams with playoffs aspirations would love to have a veteran point guard who comes to play every game and averages 7.2 assists a game for his career. He’s not an outside shooter, something most teams like in a point guard, but few players are more reliable.
Dahntay Jones, Indiana Pacers – 2 years, $5.6 million
Need a defender? Jones may be your man. The Pacers have plenty of young talent at the guard and small forward positions and Jones is a player they would move. At just $2.7 million for 2011-12, he won’t cost much. Throw in a second-round draft pick and a team may just get an athletic defender off the bench.
Keyon Dooling, Milwaukee Bucks – 1 year, $2.2 million
Once the tenth overall pick in the draft (2000), Dooling has settled into a long career as a third guard. He is capable of playing both point and shooting guard off the bench, plus can start in a pinch. He shoots 35% from three-point range and plays better than average defense in the backcourt. The trade that brought Beno Udrih to Milwaukee on draft day makes him a little more tradable.
Mickael Pietrus, Phoenix Suns – 1 year, $5.3 million
Pietrus may be the most versatile player on this list. He can play three positions, run the floor, and is capable of locking down a player on defense when he focuses. Like Dooling, he has proven effective coming off the bench or starting, plus he brings a 36% career average from long range. Pietrus has a penchant for getting hurt; he’s played in more than 67 games just twice in his eight-year career.
Marcus Camby, Portland Trail Blazers – 1 year, $12.9 million
Surprised to see Camby on this list? Is Portland’s starting center really something that would be on the market? Suffice it to say if Camby really does become available, that’s bad news for Portland because it means they didn’t play to expectations and are cashing out his contract with the future in mind. Even at 37 years old Camby is good for 10 rebounds and a block or two a game, and he is capable of making some shots. He wasn’t thrilled the last time he was traded mid-season, but then again if he is going to a contender he may not make a big deal out of it, since he hasn’t been out of the second round since 2000. The caveat with Camby, as always (everyone say it with me now), is “if he’s healthy.” Camby has played 70 or more games just four times in 15 seasons.
Leandro Barbosa, Toronto Raptors – 1 year, $7.6 million
Of all the players on this list, nothing says instant offense like Barbosa. The 2006-07 Sixth Man of the Year isn’t really a shooting guard or a point guard, making him the ideal backcourt player to fill the first guard off the bench role. He shoots a phenomenal 39% from three-point range and is capable of putting up 10 points in a quarter without blinking. Somewhat of a gambler on defense, Barbosa is fast enough to recover if a dive in a passing lane doesn’t pay off.
Raja Bell, Utah Jazz – 2 years, $6.7 million
The Jazz signed Bell last summer thinking he would be the perfect veteran presence on a team headed back to the playoffs. What a difference a year makes. Gone is All-Star Deron Williams and the Jazz are now in the middle of a complete roster re-tooling, one that makes Bell a little superfluous. A 41% career shooter from three-point range, Bell is known as a tough, physical guard who won’t back down to anyone. His teammates and his opponents respect him and even though most his career he has been a starter, Bell is the type of player who would easily accept a reserve role on a playoff team. A young player and a cheap, expiring contract may be enough to entice the Jazz.